Jesse Lazare, Jeff Mosing and Sebastian Landy completed sweeps of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competition this weekend at Road America, each earning victories in their respective classes in Round 10 on Sunday to book-end their wins in Round 9 on Saturday.
Lazare, from Montreal, earned his seventh victory of the season in the No. 21 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, pulling away on a late restart and driving to a 2.886-second victory.
Platinum Cup championship leader Lazare also swept both rounds of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series in 2015 at Road America, about 110 miles from the Kelly-Moss team headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.
“I think it really helps me that the team I am on, it’s their hometown here,” Lazare said. “The car feels unreal to drive the entire 45-minute race, and all I have to do is do my job, braking at the right points, turning at the right points, and we’re going to get victories here.”
Jake Eidson, from Littleton, Colorado, completed a successful debut weekend in the series by earning his second runner-up finish in the No. 95 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. Kelly-Moss also completed a sweep of the weekend, with its drivers finishing 1-2 in both races.
Lucas Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, held off Andrew Longe on the final lap to finish third in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche. Longe, from Naples, Florida, ended up fourth in the No. 47 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
Mike Hedlund, from Redwood City, California, rounded out the top five in the No. 77 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche, tying his best finish of the season.
Mosing, from Austin, Texas, won the Platinum Masters class in the No. 01 TOPP Racing Porsche after a fierce duel with Fred Poordad after the late restart. Landy, from Great Falls, Virginia, controlled the Gold Cup field for the entire 45-minute race for the victory in the No. 49 TPC Racing Porsche.
Lazare started from the pole in the Platinum Cup class and pulled away from the start. He built a three-second lead over Longe just 12 minutes into the race and put his Porsche on cruise control.
While Lazare pulled away, Longe, Eidson and Catania were locked into a fierce fight for second through fourth. Eidson passed Longe for second place in Turn 5 with 20 minutes remaining after Longe stumbled exiting Turn 3.
Lazare’s lead grew to 9.287 seconds over Eidson when the only full-course yellow of the weekend was triggered with 16 minutes, 30 seconds remaining when Anthony Imperato’s No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche stopped along the pit wall after losing power.
The field lined up for the restart with 11:20 remaining, and Lazare wasted no time rocketing into Turn 1 and building another gap.
“I was happy that my teammate was behind me so I knew he wasn’t going to try anything risky to dive-bomb me in the first corner like people tried to do last year,” Lazare said of the restart. “I was confident the whole race. The car was great, and Kelly-Moss did a great job for me.”
Catania drove into the final podium position with eight minutes, 30 seconds remaining. He passed Longe in Turn 1 after hugging Longe’s rear bumper all the way down the famous 4,405-foot front straightaway at Road America.
But that duel wasn’t over. Catania and Longe marched in lockstep over the final few trips around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit, with Longe looking under Catania for a possible pass on the final lap. But Catania stood his ground and held on for third by .566 of a second, his sixth podium finish of the season and first since Round 5 on June 11 in Montreal.
“Andrew (Longe) and I, and even Jake (Eidson), we were all just pushing as hard as we can,” Catania said. “We were using all of the track, and we all dropped a wheel here and there, but it was all in good fun and everyone raced super clean.”
Lazare stretched his Platinum Cup lead to 173-147 over Catania with six rounds remaining in the season. But Lazare doesn’t yet have visions of hoisting the championship trophy.
“I am going race by race, and I enjoy trying to go for a victory,” Lazare said. “I am going to push just as hard as everyone else, and I can’t wait to be at VIR.”
Reigning Gold Cup and Gold Masters champion Mosing earned his sixth Platinum Masters victory of the season, placing seventh overall.
Mosing started from the pole, but nothing came easily throughout the race. Poordad chased Mosing the entire way, while both drivers drove past younger Platinum Cup competitors.
The gap between Mosing and Poordad was just five-tenths of a second with five minutes remaining. Poordad, from San Antonio, was relentless in his pursuit, falling just .582 of a second shy at the finish in his No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
“Good racing,” Mosing said. “Close but no touching, which was awesome. The Yokohamas held up really well in these conditions, and thanks again to TOPP Racing, Porsche Motorsport North America, IMSA and Yokohama for putting on a great, competitive race.”
Bill Peluchiwski, from Chicago, finished third in the No. 74 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche.
The victory expanded Mosing’s championship lead to five points over Poordad, 175-170.
Landy earned his fifth class victory of the season, more than any other Gold Cup driver. He won by 7.964 seconds in the No. 49 TPC Racing Porsche, starting from the class pole and finishing 10th overall.
“I started first and stayed first this time,” Landy said. “I didn’t have to deal with a challenge from Michael (de Quesada). I was expecting him to be coming, but he got held up behind a couple of Platinum cars.
“So really it was just a matter for me of putting my head down and trying to get as big of a gap as I could. The car was great, so hat’s off to TPC Racing for that. Really happy for FORTO Strong Coffee to be on the top step two days in a row.”
Championship leader Michael de Quesada, from Tampa, Florida, finished second in the No. 31 Alegra Motorsports Porsche. It was a strong recovery for de Quesada, who was credited with fourth place in class in Round 9 on Saturday after a collision forced his early retirement.
De Quesada also earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in class during the race Sunday.
Philip Bloom, from New York, finished third in class in the No. 11 Wright Motorsports Porsche. He also placed third in Round 9 Saturday.
Landy’s weekend sweep tightened the ultra-competitive Gold Cup championship standings. De Quesada, 16, leads with 170 points. Michael Levitas is second with 164, with Landy third at 160.
Rounds 11-12 are scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at VIRginia International Raceway in Danville, Virginia.
ROUND 10 POST-RACE QUOTES:
JESSE LAZARE (No. 21 Kelly-Moss Road and Race, winner): “I think it really helps me that the team I am on, it’s their hometown here. The car feels unreal to drive the entire 45-minute race, and all I have to do is do my job, braking at the right points, turning at the right points, and we’re going to get victories here.” (What were your thoughts about the full-course caution while you had such a big lead?): “I was happy that my teammate was behind me so I knew he wasn’t going to try anything risky to dive-bomb me in the first corner (on the restart) like people tried to do last year. I was confident the whole race. The car was great, and Kelly-Moss did a great job for me.” (This win gives you good points, and your lead is 25 points. Are you thinking of the finish line or are you race by race?): “I am going race by race, and I enjoy trying to go for a victory. I am going to push just as hard as everyone else, and I can’t wait to be at VIR.”
JAKE EIDSON (No. 95 Kelly-Moss Road and Race, second): “It was all a blur, to be honest. On the start, I was able to keep my position, which I was happy with. Andrew (Longe) got a bit of a gap at the beginning, and I was just trying to close it, but I kept making mistakes, which made it a lot harder. Through Turn 3 he had a bit of a bad exit, so that gave me a chance to get a run going into (Turn) 5, and I could sneak up on the inside and brake late and get past him. I saw that Andrew and Lucas (Catania) were battling pretty hard behind me. It was a great battle, and I am super happy for the Kelly-Moss team.” (How was your first weekend in a Porsche and this series?): “I would love to race in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama next year. It’s hard to say, but based on this weekend, it’s hard to say no. I love the team. Kelly-Moss gave me such a great car, and I really couldn’t ask for a whole lot more. I would love to come back.”
LUCAS CATANIA (No. 26 NGT Motorsport, third): “Andrew (Longe) and I, and even Jake (Eidson), we were all just pushing as hard as we can. We were using all of the track, and we all dropped a wheel here and there, but it was all in good fun and everyone raced super clean. I am really proud to get back on the podium, and NGT Motorsport did an amazing job this weekend, as always. I can’t thank the series enough, Yokohama and all the competitors for racing me so hard and so clean. I really love being here, and I am very thankful for that.”
JEFF MOSING (No. 01 TOPP Racing, winner, Platinum Masters): “Track times were a little bit better today. We looked at the data from yesterday and tried to improve on the front sector, where I was kind of weak yesterday. We will go back and look to see if I improved or not. Started 10th and managed to get up into seventh. I tried to work (Ricardo) Perez over. He did a great job maintaining control and staying ahead of me. Good racing. Close but no touching, which was awesome. The Yokohamas held up really well in these conditions, and thanks again to TOPP Racing, Porsche Motorsport North America, IMSA and Yokohama for putting on a great, competitive race.”
SEBASTIAN LANDY (No. 49 TPC Racing, winner, Gold Cup): “I started first and stayed first this time. I didn’t have to deal with a challenge from Michael (de Quesada). I was expecting him to be coming, but he got held up behind a couple of Platinum cars. So really it was just a matter for me of putting my head down and trying to get as big of a gap as I could. The car was great, so hat’s off to TPC Racing for that. Really happy for FORTO Strong Coffee to be on the top step two days in a row.” (Track conditions were a bit cooler today. How did that affect your race?): “It made it a lot easier today. The new tires were a help. I struggled yesterday with the track conditions. It was a little too hot and slick. But the car was working really well today, and that was great. It was good for us to get two points back on Michael and keep it as close a fight as we can heading into the last couple rounds.”
MICHAEL DE QUESADA (No. 31 Alegra Motorsports, Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): “It was a great race. Sebastian (Landy) was quick, and I had a great car and a good pace today. I had a five-position penalty from yesterday, and I was just stuck behind a lot of Platinum cars. They are doing their own race and couldn’t afford to let me by them, but I was a bit quicker than some of them, but I couldn’t get by. Sebastian just left us, and I was held up. It was good, though. A good comeback. We just need to stay out of trouble and get points because we are winning the championship.”
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